Boat Rat: Carry SCUBA Gear for Safety and Fun

All lot of cruisers carry SCUBA tanks and gear so they can explore the watery wonders around the islands they visit as they sail the world. Going through PADI certification and learning the ropes about the latest SCUBA gear helps you become proficient and safe under the water. But there are also some solid safety reasons to carry tanks aboard a cruising boat.

First, if you get your prop tightly tangled in a fishing net or line, you may need to spend more than a few lungfuls of breath beneath the water to get the prop free. With tanks and a weight belt, you can stay down long enough to clear the prop and make a thorough inspection of the prop, shaft, P-strut and thru hull.

Both props on shafts and sail drive units have zincs on them to prevent electrolysis. These need to be changed annually at least and more often in the tropics or in marinas that have stray electrical currents from poorly grounded boats. You don’t have to haul the boat to change zincs, you just need tanks.

Anchorages often have unseen obstructions on the bottom that can snare your anchor to the point that you may think about abandoning it. This is true on coral strewn waters or in anchorages near third world cities. We have lost several anchors over the years, and once we pulled up a shopping cart with the anchor in it! Instead of abandoning your anchor and rode, you can use your tanks to rig a retrieving line to haul the anchor free.

There are hundreds of good reasons to think about carrying scuba gear on a cruising boat. Not the least is the ability to stay down long enough to shoot only the choicest fish for dinner.  For more on diving, log on to

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